Europe's Inner Demons

Europe's Inner Demons

Book rating: 03 Paperback

By (author) Norman Cohn

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  • Publisher: PIMLICO
  • Format: Paperback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 136mm x 217mm x 21mm | 313g
  • Publication date: 3 January 1998
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0712657576
  • ISBN 13: 9780712657570
  • Edition: 2, Revised
  • Edition statement: 2nd Revised edition
  • Illustrations note: 1
  • Sales rank: 279,162

Product description

In this ground-breaking book, Professor Norman Cohn traces popular beliefs about witches to their origins. He examines the fantasies that inspired the great European witch-hunt of the 16th and 17th centuries when thousands of innocent people were tortured and burned alive. It is a fascinating history of the need to imagine antihuman conspiracies and an investigation of how those fantasies made the great European witch-hunt possible. In addition, Professor Cohn's discovery that some influential sources on witch trials were forgeries has revolutionized the field of witchcraft studies, making this one of the most essential books ever written on the subject.

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Author information

Norman Cohn was born in London in 1915 and educated at Gresham's School and Christ Church, Oxford. Scholar and research scholar at Christ Church between 1933 and 1939, after the war he taught in universities in England, Scotland, Ireland, America and Canada. In 1966 he became a Professorial Fellow in the University of Sussex and director of an international research project on the preconditions for persecutions and genocides. From 1973 to 1980 he was Astor-Wolfson Professor at Sussex and is now Professor Emeritus. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and the author of Warrant for Genocide and The Pursuit of the Millennium (also in Pimlico).

Customer reviews

By Mark Thwaite 10 Dec 2008 3

Medieval Christianity fascinates us. And it may do us all more than passing good to work out exactly why this violent, conspiratorial and internecine period of history still encourages such passionate interest today. How as it that Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code became such a massive, worldwide bestseller? I mean, its not like we've not had badly written books about the Catholic church before! Norman Cohn's well-written and well-balanced Europe's Inner Demons is for the more serious reader. It details how the great witch-hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries erupted, and investigates how it was that thousands of innocent people, both men and women, were tortured and burned alive. What were the great fears that led to the butchering of ordinary, upstanding and often very devote, Christians? Cohn is an expert in his field -- his The Pursuit of the Millennium is an indispensible and utterly compelling guide to the millenarian and mystical sects of the Middle Ages -- and this is a fine work of history from which we'd all do well do draw the requisite lessons.

Review quote

"It is not too much to say that Professor Cohn has revolutionised the study of the subject - It is a brilliant book." -- Bernard Levin Observer "An indispensable study." -- Robin Lane Fox Financial Times "This is a book of real stature which I hope will have a side impact. Only if we begin to understand the horrifying recesses of the human imagination can we prevent the recurrences of those dreadful, irrational persecutions which have so disfigured human history." -- Anthony Storr